Grants for Farmers and Landowners

Grants for Farmers and Landowners

Pasture with fingerpost

There are a variety of ways landowners can help the River Mease to improve water quality and wildlife habitats, from the management of land, to tree planting, track maintenance to the management of runoff, many of which can be grant funded.

Countryside Stewardship provides incentives for land managers to look after their environment. This scheme is open to all eligible farmers, woodland owners, foresters and other land managers through a competitive application process.

This scheme is run jointly by Natural England, Forestry Commission England and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of Defra.  Please follow the link to see the Countryside Stewardship scheme guidance material.

This single scheme supersedes the following schemes which are now closed to new applications:

  • Environmental Stewardship (ES)
  • English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS); and
  • capital grants from the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) programme (replaced within the Middle Tier of the Countryside Stewardship scheme).

Countryside Stewardship offers a range of management options and one-off payments towards the costs of certain capital items or activities and applications can be made containing different combinations. The scheme has three main elements:

  • Higher Tier: for the most environmentally important sites and woodland and similar to the current Higher Level Stewardship. Applicants will need to contact Natural England or the Forestry Commission before they can apply for the Higher Tier.
  • Middle Tier: aims to address widespread environmental issues, and includes reducing diffuse water pollution. This will enable issues to be addressed across the wider area rather than on a single farmland holding basis.
  • A lower tier of capital grants: up to a maximum of £5,000 per applicant for farmers and land managers who don’t have a Higher or Middle Tier agreement. These grants will mainly be for small-scale restoration of boundary features, like hedgerows and stone walls.

Natural England will handle all initial enquiries. You can contact Natural England by telephone on 0300 060 3900 or by email at

Entry to all levels of the new scheme will be competitive and all applications will submitted through the new online system. Applicants can review the management options and capital items available using the Countryside Stewardship Grants tool online.

With regard to water quality, this package (see 6.4 of the Countryside Stewardship manual) includes a range of options to improve water quality in Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) priority catchment target areas. The water quality grants will be supported by CSF Officers who will provide support and guidance to applicants in these areas. If you would like further information on the water quality package, please contact Mark Taylor at Natural England on 0208 225 6446 or 07900 657078 or email

Woodland Planting and Management

If you are considering woodland planting or management please visit the Forestry Commission website to find out about how to apply. Woodland tree health and management plan grants are open for applications all year round with no application deadline. From 1 July 2015, Woodland tree health and management plan grants should be applied for via Countryside Stewardship using the form available on GOV.UK. The application window for woodland creation is closed and will open again in 2016.

If your land is within the National Forest, the National Forest Company offers a range of unique funding schemes designed to encourage tree planting and the creation of wildlife habitats within the Forest’s 200 square miles. Please visit the National Forest website for more information.

Funding is also available for a wide range of woodland management related activity, and includes management planning, site works primarily focusing on young woodland, woodland infrastructure, managing pests and diseases, woodland management training, public access works and community engagement and development.

For more information and details of how to apply for this fund please contact:

Charles Robinson
The National Forest Company, Bath Yard, Moira, Swadlincote, Derbyshire. DE12 6BA
01283 551211